Government Study Says Airline Fees Should Be Disclosed To Consumers

A new study from the Government Accountability Office says that the “optional” fees that airlines have invented for checked and carry-on bags; meals; blankets; early boarding; and seat selection are not adequately disclosed and consumers are not able to easily compare the total cost of flights offered by different carriers.

The office, which is the the audit, evaluation, and investigative arm of the United States Congress, recommends that that DOT require airlines to consistently disclose optional fees and notify
passengers of any refundable government fees, something they do not currently do.

The report also addresses the fact that, as airlines have moved to an fee-based business model, the shift reduced the proportion of their total revenue that is taxed to fund FAA.

The report included this cute cartoon illustrating where, during the process of booking and completing air travel, a consumer is expected to pay various fees.

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Consumers Could
Benefit from Better Information about Airline-Imposed Fees and Refundability of Government-Imposed Taxes and Fees (PDF)
[GAO]